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A woman looking at a tablet researching how to choose the best franchise brand and text reading "How to Choose the Best Franchise Brand for You"

How to Choose the Best Franchise Brand for You

How to Choose the Best Franchise Brand for You 1016 528 Sprockets

Buying a franchise location might seem like a shorter path to business success than starting from scratch. However, there is more to a franchise than the upfront costs. Franchises are available in almost all industries, meaning potential investors have an array of options. But how do you narrow your choice down and choose the best franchise for you? Here are a few factors to consider when evaluating a franchising opportunity.

Find Out How a Franchisor Treats Its Franchisees

The first step toward determining if the deal is right for you should be discovering how the founders of franchise brands treat their individual franchisees. Visit existing franchisees and discuss their experience with the founders before making your decision. Treat any franchisor not willing to let you meet its franchisees as a red flag because opting out of a franchise after signing an agreement can be challenging and expensive.

Consider a Coaching Program

Investors often overlook the importance of a well-thought-out coaching program before opting into a franchise. Successful franchises understand that their success hinges on the expertise of their franchisees. Thus, a reliable franchise will typically invest in a coaching program to make its franchisees savvy and entrepreneurial.

Consider the Costs of Buying a Franchise

Most franchise agreements contain hidden fees in addition to the marketing and training fees and royalty payments. Therefore, investors should read the terms of a franchise to determine if it’s the best opportunity for their goals.

Check Out the Business Model

A woman looking at the business model of a franchise

Everyone would want to invest in a proven business model. Any franchise opportunity that doesn’t offer a proven business model should be another red flag. A reliable franchise should have working systems ranging from marketing, payroll, upsells, and customer service. Find out if franchisees are taken through training or if they are left to figure out the system on their own. You’re about to commit to a serious business partnership. So, it is a decision that no one will want to take lightly. Understand the terms of the franchise and get ready to learn more about the franchisor.

The best franchises to own are those led by honest and focused people concerned about those who invest in their network. A trustworthy franchise will have genuine people behind its brand. Franchise brands with a healthy system will also respond to your queries with relevant remarks and not rehearsed referral scripts. Those interested in a franchise should understand their business partner to make sure a franchise opportunity is worth their time and money.

Ask for Proof of Success

Some franchises can’t succeed unless they get specific connections or talents. So, before you opt into a franchise, research franchisees who have already partnered and succeed with that franchise. Identify the common factors of success to determine if you are an ideal fit. Evaluating the profitability of a franchise can be tricky because the profitability of different franchisees tends to vary. 

A variety of factors, including location and season, can affect the profitability of a franchise. Get a comprehensive performance report from other franchisees and find out how the successful ones overcame challenges. It might also be helpful to see if some franchises have failed recently and to research the reasons behind their failure. Most new franchisees fail due to undercapitalization. Never commit your funds to a franchise unless the franchisor has demonstrated their ability to support your growth.

Seek Advice From the Successful Franchisees

Find out what other franchisees think about the brand. It is easy for a potential investor to get swayed by the fabulous information the franchisor espouses. It would be wise for a potential franchisor to seek advice from the franchisees who have succeeded. 

A reliable franchisor should be willing to train and mentor newbies. The franchisor should also be glad to help newbies align their interests with those of the franchise. Joining a franchise committed to connecting all its franchisees can increase your success odds. The best franchises to own give their franchisees territorial protection, making them confident to ask their peers any questions and share their insights. Other franchisees’ experiences can increase your odds of success.

Budget

Most franchises require their potential franchisees to have a certain amount of capital before their operations commence. It could be inventory, infrastructure, equipment, and other supplies needed to start a franchise model. The franchise will add these tangible items up and list them in a franchise disclosure document, which helps determine the amount of capital needed to join a franchise. However, it is recommended to have twice that amount before you buy a franchise due to future uncertainties. 

Most franchises require their franchisees to have a minimum 680 credit score. The amount a potential franchisee has borrowed should be 30% less than the amount available in cash. Your total net worth should also be at least 1.5 times the borrowed amount.

Consider the Latest Trend

No one wants to waste their time and resources in a fad. Instead, everyone wants to invest in a relevant and current franchise. Those interested in franchise brands should research consumer needs and look at what is lacking in the market. It’s a good sign if statistics show people are interested in the services being offered by the franchise you want to join.

Follow Your Passion

You can invest in a new or established franchise. Either way, your success depends on your passion for franchised networks. For example, investing in KFC would be the perfect move for someone passionate about fast-food restaurants. New franchise networks can be difficult to run, but they offer more opportunities than established ones.

Consider Competition

Lack of stiff competition is one sign that a franchise offers excellent opportunities. There could be fast-food restaurants on every corner, and if that’s the case, consider exploring other less competitive niches around you. Choose a franchise that encourages repeat purchases to ensure the growth of your business. Investing in a franchise with at least a 97% customer retention rate could be a worthwhile deal.

Final Thoughts for Your Franchise Decision

A woman showing a laptop screen of the Sprockets hiring platform

All successful franchises are typical in that they view their franchisees as their partners, and they are concerned about them as they are about their businesses. When a franchise is run well, it is hard to find an investment opportunity that can match the growth capacity, power, speed, and leverage that the franchisee and franchisor can have. Those who have been passionate about joining a franchise should consider the above tips to find the right investment choice.

Once you choose the right franchise brand for you, you’ll need to choose the right applicants for your team. That’s where we come in. Sprockets is an AI-powered solution to hiring that empowers you to build the best team possible, no matter what type of franchise you open.

Schedule a demo today to see how Sprockets sets you up for success!

A woman showing a laptop screen of the Sprockets hiring platform

SENTIO Becomes “Sprockets” as We Set Our Sights Even Higher for 2021

SENTIO Becomes “Sprockets” as We Set Our Sights Even Higher for 2021 1016 528 Sprockets

Big things are happening here at Sprockets! We recently received a $3.4mm venture raise after all of our success in 2020. This investment puts us in an even better position to serve customers in the new year with feature expansions and integrations with other major hiring tools that you utilize. During this time, we’re transforming ourselves to convey our mission more effectively: to harmoniously unite the right people with the right possibilities.

Whether you’re an applicant or employer, you can rest assured that Sprockets has what you need. We’re defining the future of the hourly workforce with our Applicant Matching System.

New Name, Same Mission

While our name has changed, our commitment to you has not. People need to get back to work, especially after such a turbulent year, and you need to find the best of the best for your business to achieve success in 2021. Our data-driven platform is still the go-to solution for matching the right people to the right possibilities with pinpoint accuracy. When you succeed, we succeed!

Change isn’t always easy, but this one is. We want to assure our current customers that this doesn’t affect how you interact with our hiring platform. You don’t need to do anything differently besides enjoy the new and improved look of our company. Use our platform, as usual, to continue finding the right candidates for your team. Of course, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you might have. We’re always here to help, especially during transition. 

The Story Behind “Sprockets”

Have you ever really watched a relay race? It’s a thing of beauty to see a group of athletes working together, seamlessly handing off to one another with perfect choreography, moving forward in tandem toward the same goal. Like a relay athlete or a sprocket in a machine, the right employee joins colleagues to drive an organization forward in efficiency and harmony.

Simply put, “Sprockets” represents our mission more clearly. “Sentio” means “to understand,” but we go far beyond understanding workplaces and candidates. We determine if candidates will fit — and work harmoniously — with other coworkers, thrive in their unique environments, and stay long-term.

Exciting News and Plans for the Future

We’ve always been a forward-thinking company, and that remains the same as well. The updates to our name and appearance offer a taste of what’s to come as we shape the future of hiring. You can look forward to many more improvements and enhancements to your experience with our platform, especially since Sprockets recently acquired a $3.4 million raise from venture-capitalist investors. We’d like to thank the following companies for their contributions and confidence:

It’s rare for any South-Carolina startup to receive investments from outside the Southeast, which is why it’s truly remarkable how a company such as ours was able to attract world-class funding during a global pandemic. This invigorating news has us excited for the future as we look to make 2021 the best year yet for Sprockets and all of our loyal customers!

Sprockets: It’s Not Magic — It’s Logic

If you don’t currently use our platform and are interested in enjoying the success that so many satisfied customers have achieved, we’d love to help. Take a moment to book a meeting with one of our team members to learn more about how Sprockets’ sophisticated solution to hiring can reduce employee turnover, saving you time and money. It might be the best decision you make for your business!

Chefs in the kitchen of a restaurant

Four Tips to Engage Restaurant Staff Members and Reduce Employee Turnover

Four Tips to Engage Restaurant Staff Members and Reduce Employee Turnover 1200 600 Sprockets

Fostering a sense of team unity is an excellent way to make your restaurant the best it can be. Facilitating team activities, goals and a common vision are great ways to encourage employee engagement. With a strong team, you’ll see better productivity, retention, and profits. Encouraging team unity doesn’t simply mean playing a few ice breaker games at pre-shift meetings. It is a deep-rooted, multi-faceted initiative that should stem from a good deal of thought and planning that has a real impact on business. In fact, 86% of employees and executives state that workplace failures are a direct result of a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication. To strengthen your team, we’ve compiled four team building tips for engaging restaurant staff members and reducing employee turnover.

 

Encourage Informal Social Gatherings

If team-building is established as extra work, your staff members won’t be as apt to join in. But, promoting informal social gatherings on a day the restaurant closes early is a great way to encourage team building. When staff members can gather outside of pressure-filled shifts, they gain quality time to get to know each other. Gatherings could include a shared meal at your restaurant, or an outing to see how a rival restaurant operates and discuss what they see as working or not working. 

 

Encourage Employee Contribution

Every single person has been in a work situation or meeting when they have had the urge to voice an opinion or idea but chose to keep it to themselves for a variety of reasons. This can often lead team members to feel that their input and opinion isn’t valued.

A great way to foster a team culture is to encourage employees of all levels to contribute. A great way to start this process is to leave a specific time allotment for employee contribution during meetings or project discussions. Encourage leadership to actively listen and encourage the sharing of ideas. This doesn’t mean that everything will be smooth sailing when it comes to team contribution. However, the simple act of encouraging employees to speak up builds up a strong company culture and helps people feel that they are an important part of a team.

 

Establish Clear, Open Communication Lines

The saying “communication is key” is especially important when one of your major goals is building a sense of team unity. Establishing clear, open lines of communication is the first step to ensuring the success of a team-building endeavor. Individual employees should have a common communication line, such as a team leader or senior team member, that they can go to with progress reports or questions. Employees should never be discouraged from communicating. However, it is also important to establish up-front what type of communication will be beneficial to work toward a common objective or goal. For example, complaining or going off-topic will only develop unnecessary traffic when it comes to communication.

 

Recognize Accomplishments

Did your restaurant recently meet its monthly sales goal? Identify staff from every aspect of the restaurant that had a positive impact on meeting that goal. That may include a server that went above and beyond, a bartender who stepped up and took open shifts, or a shift leader who got great reviews from a customer. Employees that receive recognition for their accomplishments will be encouraged to continue their work endeavors. While building your plan to recognize key contributors, it’s also important to outline how you can recognize and reward the accomplishments of the restaurant staff as a whole that contributed. This may include an extra bonus or a free meal voucher for them and a guest.

 

As you grow and engage restaurant staff members, check out the Sprockets platform. Our Applicant Matching System is designed to assist restaurant owners and managers in hiring the employees by matching applicants against your best people. 

 

Recommended for you: Interview Questions for Cashiers and Front of House Staff 

A smiling woman explaing the importance of cultural fit for restaurant employees

The Importance of Cultural Fit for Restaurant Employees

The Importance of Cultural Fit for Restaurant Employees 1200 600 Sprockets

Many factors go into a hiring decision. For instance, hiring managers often consider applicants’ work experience, hard skills, and soft skills. In recent years, the importance of cultural fit has become even more apparent too. In fact, some businesses have begun to give cultural fit equal weight with other attributes or even prioritize it. What exactly is it, though, and why is it important in a restaurant?

 

Defining Cultural Fit as it Relates to Restaurants

In a nutshell, cultural fit is how well an employee’s mentality and behavior line up with the particular values and culture of your restaurant. Unfortunately, restaurant owners don’t always have a handle on what the culture is truly like within their restaurant. One scenario is when, on paper, the restaurant owner supports a philosophy of letting its employees be as independent as possible. In practice, shift managers micromanage the staff members. 

Now, a diner may pride itself on its family-oriented culture, particularly if it is a family-owned business. Or it may tout itself as lean and determined. It may emphasize that its employees need to be able to make quick, good decisions, or it may explain that its employees need to be well-versed in carrying out orders. Some restaurants, however, don’t fully understand what culture fit is and why it’s important. When they do hire, they don’t consider that aspect of applicants’ profiles, and that’s a big mistake.

 

Everything Is Amplified in a Restaurant

From our experience, we’ve seen that practically everything is amplified in a restaurant. That is a major reason why hiring for culture fit is critical. There are fewer employees who work long shifts together and fewer channels of communication. More direct contact takes place between customers and every employee in the business. If something goes wrong, it’s liable to go wrong on a bigger scale.

Indeed, just one “bad” hire can do horrendous damage to a restaurant. The damage need not be anything as direct as an employee angering an important customer, although that can and does happen. Rather, it can be indirect like a long wait time, and build up to a devastating level over time. 

 

Consider the following:

Someone who doesn’t fit with the culture of the restaurant is hired. Let’s say this person resents following a rotating schedule and doesn’t really follow the dress code requirements and shows up with blue hair to your upscale restaurant.

This person’s attitude affects the morale of the other employees, who bristle at the new hire who comes in late, leaves early, and appears as they please. Employees’ productivity and morale drops.

Now, some restaurants are able to offer more flexible schedules to employees and have relaxed dress codes. However, not every restaurant is like this. Your employees need to be able to understand and follow the values of your business.

 

Limited Space to Experiment

A restaurant doesn’t have as much room as a large corporate to navigate and make mistakes. So, it’s worth investing additional resources and time to find a proper cultural match. In a larger business, someone who is a bad culture fit might affect the morale of the immediate team members, but that may be where the ripple effects stop. In a restaurant, it’s likely that everyone who works there and the customers could be affected.

 

The Ripple Effects

Earlier, we touched on a few ways in which bad culture can affect the business. Here’s a bulleted list that outlines a more extensive list of examples:

  • Bad work quality
  • Lowered productivity
  • Lowered job satisfaction
  • Decreased morale
  • Poisonous work environment
  • Higher employee turnover
  • Stressed, possibly resentful employees
  • Decreased profits
  • Lost customers

Say that Bob and Jane see their co-worker at a restaurant constantly arrive late and leave early. He calls in sick often and shows up with ripped jeans, not allowed in the dress code. He is slow getting to customers and doesn’t refill waters as often as others on the waitstaff. Bob or Jane (maybe both) may begin to question why they’re even bothering to be productive employees when this guy does what he wants and gets paid the same as them. They resent the employee and begin to think less of their boss for hiring this person. Bob or Jane leave the position, and the search must begin anew for another employee.

Even if your restaurant is laid-back, a poor culture fit can still be harmful. Take a coastal restaurant that encourages employees to wear T-shirts and shorts. A new employee is hired who checks off all the hard skills on paper. Everyone’s excited, but problems may arise quickly if this employee shows up each day wearing a button-down shirt and slacks. For instance, the employee may not mesh with other team members and lose motivation to work. It’s costly to keep an unproductive worker around, and if that worker leaves, to go through another hiring process.

 

Diversity Is Important

You can still have diversity in your small business while hiring for cultural fit. Actually, having a diverse workforce can help your business become quite successful. We want to emphasize that a cultural match does not equal hiring people from the same backgrounds and with similar experiences.

 

Nailing Down the Fit

To be sure, business culture can be tough to nail down. Since it’s important that everyone in the business aligns with its values, how can a business succeed if half of the employees are creative thinkers and half are more rigid thinkers? It’s because culture goes deeper than that. What type of thinker you are matters less than attributes such as self-awareness and ability to collaborate effectively. So, a business filled with employees who practice different methods of thinking/approaching problems can still be extremely profitable. These employees just have to align with a company culture of, say, respect, and collaboration. Having diverse people in your business is an excellent thing, but the culture fit still needs to be there.

 

Practicalities Matter

On the most basic and practical level, the right employees matter for restaurants because they don’t have as much time and resources to spend on hiring. When you hire the right type of person, you hopefully won’t be hiring all over again in a few months when that person leaves. On a deeper level, making several poor hires for culture (or even just one bad hire) may lead to a toxic work environment and hurt the bottom line of your restaurant. If the restaurant keeps hiring people who don’t work out, there may be a mismatch between the perceived (“on paper”) culture and the actual culture. Alternatively, hiring processes may need to be changed, and the people doing the hiring should become more aware of cultural issues.

Overall, making the right hire for a business is important to employee morale, productivity, and the bottom line. To ensure you’re hiring the best matches for your restaurant, learn about Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System.

A housekeeper cleaning

Housekeeper Interview Questions You Should Ask

Housekeeper Interview Questions You Should Ask 1024 512 Sprockets

When hiring housekeepers, you can’t be too careful. It’s important to hire the right people not only for your clients, but for your business. You’ll want to hire people that are responsible and won’t cost your business by using set housekeeper interview questions. Additionally, it’s important to hire people who will stick around, be a good culture fit with your business, and will work hard.

Being prepared with consistent interview questions is key to making the right hire. When hiring housekeepers, you should ask questions in the following categories; experience verification, behavioral, and competency questions. Additionally, you should supplement with any questions relevant to the position, such as requirements to be employed.

If you’re looking for additional data on who to hire, learn how Sprockets’ hiring solution can help you determine which applicants are the best fit for your business.

Experience Verification

Experience verification is important in positions where certain certifications, training, or degrees are required.

Q: What experience do you have in the cleaning industry?
Whether an applicant has more experience in the residential sector or the commercial sector may play into which clients for which you pair them.

Q: Do you have a current housekeeping position?
If an applicant answers with “yes”, follow up this question by asking why they are seeking to leave their current company. Are they looking for more hours? Did they have a bad boss? Depending on their answer, this may help you determine if they will be the right fit for your business.

If the applicant answers with “no”, follow up this question by asking why they want to begin a job in the house cleaning industry. Perhaps they are seeking flexible hours or opportunity for tips. The applicant’s answer should enable you to gauge whether your business will be able to deliver what they are seeking.

Behavioral Questions

Behavioral questions are designed to evaluate an applicant’s fit with the role and duties it entails.

Q: Describe how you have handled a difficult situation with a client.
Some homeowners and business owners can be particularly stern regarding their cleaning expectations. While cleaners may follow the checklist to a T, oversights can happen. Get insights on how an applicant has handled a difficult client.

Q: Tell me about your most rewarding experience with a client.
An applicant’s answer to this question will let you know what they like most about the job.

Q: What motivates you during the workday?
Each applicant may answer this question differently. Answers may include getting off of work in time to pick up children from school, listening to music during a shift, or receiving a nice holiday bonus. The applicant’s answer allows you to determine which of your clients they may be the best fit to work with or if they will be a good fit for your business.

Competency Questions

Competency questions are designed to evaluate an applicant’s understanding of the position and the duties it entails.

Q: What do you consider to be a clean house?
The way an applicant describes what their expectations of a clean house are gives you insight into whether they are detail-oriented and patient enough for this type of position.

 

It’s also important to weigh which category of questions is most important for that position. For example, when hiring for a caregiver, experience is very important. However, behavioral questions are always important to understand how someone will contribute to your team. When we hire people, so often do we say, “I feel like they’d be great for the job.” We base decisions off of how we feel about someone, because it is important.

Overall, it’s crucial to hire the best people for the sake of your business and your clients. Make the best hires for your business by being prepared with the housekeeper interview questions above. If you’re ready to take your hiring to the next level, learn how Sprockets can help you select the best hires, reduce employee turnover, and save you money.

Impact of COVID-19 on the QSR Industry

Impact of COVID-19 on the QSR Industry 150 150 Sprockets

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the quick-service market, posing new challenges for both operators and hiring managers. We are truly in uncharted territory as our industry manages the changing landscape. Here’s an early take on the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

 

The good…

 

QSR’s thrive during economic hardship

During the last economic recession, the general public turned to more convenient and cost-effective food rather than fast-casual and fine dining. 

After the housing crash in 2008, as an example, Subway added 6,000 locations to keep up with demand (Forbes), McDonald’s grew revenue by 4.5%, and Yum Brands outperformed the S&P 500 (Yahoo Finance). 

Restaurant Brands International’s CEO Jose Cil recently shared in their earnings report: “we’re encouraged by early signs of improvement in sales trends across many of our major markets”. 

 

Many QSR brands are growing during COVID-19

For the third consecutive week, restaurant chains witnessed year-over-year same-store sales improvement versus the previous period (Black box Intelligence). Papa John’s had its strongest month ever while adding 1,000,000 people to their loyalty program (QSR). Domino’s and Pizza Hut added nearly 40,000 employees to manage the overflow of delivery orders (Business Insiders). Popeye’s Chicken increased sales by 30% in Q1 (RBI Earnings Report). 

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski shared his belief that during uncertain and frightening times, people will turn to the “familiar”. “Our overall view is as markets start to open up this desire to really return to familiar favorites, to brands that are known is very, very powerful. And I think the fact that we also have a strong orientation toward convenience and value that I think are also two key elements.”

 

Less competition

This is a hard, sobering fact for the restaurant space. As the world re-opens, there will be fewer and limited independent restaurants. Most independents were forced to shut their doors, lay off their staff, and halt operations without the support from a franchisor. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the James Beard Foundation found that 80% of independents weren’t sure their restaurant would survive this crisis. For those who survive, about 60% describe their revenues as “severely depressed” (National Bureau of Economic Research). 

 

The bad…

 

Hiring just got very complicated

Since President Trump declared a national emergency, nearly 30 million people have filed for unemployment. The huge influx of unemployment has overwhelmed the government, resulting in delays and shortages of unemployment benefits. As of April 15th, nearly half of the workforce has not received their unemployment benefits (NPR). Recently displaced workers are, therefore, more motivated to get back to work with the uncertainty of their next check. 

As other industries shutter, you should expect far more applicant flow. What may seem like a blessing, however, could lead to more time spent in the hiring process. It will be overwhelming for your hiring managers to sift through the hundreds, and even thousands, of resumes to find the right applicants. Do you feel confident that your team will pick the right people? 

 

Employee turnover is increasing for new reasons

Employee turnover has been increasing year-over-year in the QSR industry. COVID-19 will accelerate that further. Here are a few obstacles our users are facing are they strive to retain your team. 

  • Childcare responsibilities
    • 22% of grandparents provide childcare at no cost, but COVID has slashed this number significantly (Vox)
    • The average cost for two young children outside school in more than $20,000 annually (Center for American Progress)
    • As childcare centers and schools reopen, teachers are refusing to go back to work further delaying the predicament. In Seattle, teachers have created a union-esque fight against returning to work (Seattle Education Association). 
  • Employees make more off unemployment
    • The average caregiver makes $22,470 per year, or $1,800 per month before taxes (Glassdoor). 
    • Based on the state, unemployed workers receive between $300 and $500 per week. Unemployed workers in 29 states are currently getting an extra $600 per week (USA Today). That could result in upwards of $4,400 of potential monthly income plus the $1200 per person and $500 per child (IRS). We are starting to hear that caregivers are opting to file for unemployment and quitting their jobs. 
  • Employees are getting sick or are afraid of getting sick
    • As of May 8, nearly 1.3 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. That number is expected to increase. 
    • The Occupational Safety and Health Act grants workers the right to refuse to work if they believe workplace conditions could cause them serious imminent harm (Time Magazine). 
    • The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) states that workers do not need to go to work if they feel unsafe for “health and safety reasons (Time Magazine)”. 

 

The Ugly…

 
QSR’s will struggle to hire the right people because of their current technology.

We started 2020 with historic low unemployment rates. Many hiring software solutions are therefore built to solve the “labor shortage” problem and neglect proper screening features. As your team must get more selective and efficient, one-click applications and QSR social networks are no longer the only software you need. It is important that you have a screening tool to help automate the influx of new candidates from 15%+ unemployment. 

 

Turnover will get very, very expensive.

With an uncertain economic future, one way to control costs is to reduce your turnover. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, it costs $4,969 to hire, train, and replace an hourly worker. With a staff of 50, you’ll need to hire roughly 66 people (or 5.5 per month). That’s if you maintain the industry average turnover rate of 132%. So, hiring 66 people for $4,969 equals $327,954 in turnover costs. This includes, but is not limited to, resources to interview, train, and onboard. 

 


 

At Sprockets, we are striving to learn from our customers daily. We currently help operators in brands like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Chick-fil-A with hiring the right people and reducing turnover. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you. 

 

The Must-Have Employee Onboarding Plan for Restaurants

The Must-Have Employee Onboarding Plan for Restaurants 150 150 Sprockets

For many restaurants, first-day orientation and employee onboarding are not given nearly enough attention. Orientation is compared to the first day of college classes – syllabus day. When we consider long-term engagement and overall impact, orientation is crucial. Forking over a pile of paperwork and written instructions on what’s required just doesn’t cut it.

 

The Importance of Day One

Engaging and retaining employees is crucial to the health of growing restaurants. Benefits of effective employee onboarding include increased retention rates, reduced ramp-up time for the employee, and higher potential for an engaged employee over the course of their tenure.

Research from SquareSpace links an effective onboarding program to reduced turnover and increased retention. In one study, employees were 60% more likely to remain with the company for more than three years when there was a structured onboarding program. In another study, 15% of respondents decided to leave their current position simply due to an ineffective or no onboarding process. Simply put, people want you to include information during their hiring and first days and months that will help them succeed in the position and company.

An employee’s first day is critical to their productivity. According to Kat Cole, “new employees make their decision to stay within the first 20 to 40 hours on the job.” It’s the first impression and it can be extremely positive or extremely negative. Especially in the tight labor market of today, chances are they may have a better option waiting in the wings.

A recent trend that restaurants are seeing is both candidates and new hires who “abruptly cutting off contact and turning silent — the type of behavior more often associated with online dating than office life,” says Chip Cutter of The Wall Street Journal. This “ghosting” of employers is forcing companies to rethink how they operate and remember that recruiting doesn’t stop at the door.

 

How to Create an Effective Onboarding Plan:

If your restaurant does not have an effective new hire program in place, it may seem daunting to start now – but fear not!

First, look to your peers. Employ a committee, ranging from the GM to Shift Leaders to frontline staff. You want brand ambassadors who represent the company culture – people who enjoy their work and who will be able to provide genuine advice and coaching to new hires.

A good way to figure out what is important to incoming employees is with predictive hiring systems, like Sprockets. The hiring solution offers insights into what traits the candidate has and what they value, like gregariousness or sympathy. Knowing and understanding these traits allows you to tailor their training, onboarding, and ongoing communication in a way that will be effective to them. 

 

Once you’ve identified and engaged your internal employee onboarding team, ask questions.

Ensure you’re covering the logistics of the day and beyond with an employee onboarding checklist.
  • When will onboarding start?
  • How long will it last? (30-day, 60-day, and 90-day onboarding are most common)
  • What training will it contain? 
  • Will training include on-the-job, shadowing, or training modules?
  • Who will conduct the onboarding and training?
Answer questions concerned with the intended impact.
  • What impression do you want new hires to walk away with at the end of their first day?
  • What are the unique and important characteristics that contribute to your restaurant’s culture, morale, and productivity?
  • If any negative aspects come to mind, what does your team need to do to counteract those and shift the culture and mindsets of current employees?
Finally, create a measurement for success.

It’s important to develop a program that will be effective, efficient, and manageable.

  • How often will you check in with new hires?
  • Will you utilize surveys, or do you plan to meet with team members face to face?
  • What does feedback and data collection look like for your restaurant and for your workload?

Toxic environments are easy to sniff out, especially with the heightened senses of the newly hired. Onboarding needs to be real and tailored to your restaurant to work. Don’t paint an unrealistic picture of what a day in the life will be like. They will perceive HR and management as being either dishonest or delusional or both.

So, remember, be real and execute employee onboarding with intention. The efforts you put into recruiting and hiring do not stop when the offer is accepted. Good human resource management is a process that requires constant care and consistent reevaluation to succeed. Not to mention, it’s an anxiety-inducing day. A fun, casual environment goes a long way when making a first impression!

 

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Staffing Roundup Part 2: Insights from Sprockets’ Home Health Providers

Staffing Roundup Part 2: Insights from Sprockets’ Home Health Providers Sprockets

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the home healthcare market, posing new challenges for both operators and hiring managers. We are truly in uncharted territory as our industry manages the changing landscape. 

The good news is there are signs of increased business as patients shift from assisted living to home health. The bad news is that owners and hiring managers are busier than ever before. 

Our hope is that this article will provide some insight into the various challenges facing home healthcare based on what we are hearing from our clients. 

 

An increase in caregiver applicants is straining the hiring process

Since President Trump declared a national emergency, 22 million people have filed for unemployment. The huge influx of unemployment has overwhelmed the government, resulting in delays and shortages of unemployment benefits. 

As of April 15, nearly half of the workforce has not received their unemployment benefits (NPR). Recently displaced workers are, therefore, more motivated to get back to work with the uncertainty of their next check. 

What we’ve heard from our clients:
  • “We are anxious to move forward with implementing Sprockets, as we have had an increase in applications due to the fact that we are still hiring when so many are now unemployed.” 
  • “We are seeing a HUGE influx of caregiver applicants. It’s hard to even manage.” 

 

Home-health patient loads are growing, increasing demand on caregiver staffing

Home Healthcare Aide is now the third fastest-growing occupation in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This statistic is the result of home-health locations seeing patients in need of less intensive care shifting from hospitals and assisted living facilities to isolation friendly home healthcare. The prevailing thought is this trend will remain in place through 2021 as a societal shift occurs in caregivers.

Below are a collection of hot takes from various industry leaders:
  • Kevin Colman, president of Home Healthcare Solutions: “I’m preparing for each day to probably get busier,” he said, predicting home-based care providers to see business peak in the next few weeks. “We are anticipating … patients being discharged [from hospitals quicker] and coming back to their homes or their communities, which [means] a whole separate set of risks.” (Home healthcare news)
  • Jennifer Sheets, CEO of Interim Healthcare: “We’re preparing for a surge of patients coming out of the hospital, and we’re already taking care of COVID-19 patients now. Certainly, I think that’s going to increase pretty quickly as we get further down the curve of COVID-19 exposure.” (Home healthcare news)
  • Greg Davis, the Owner of Patriot, said his business has surged as patients who need less intensive forms of care are discharged by hospitals trying to free up beds for anticipated COVID-19 cases. (Washington Post)

 

Employee turnover is increasing for new reasons

Employee turnover has been increasing year-over-year in the home health industry due in large part to the U.S. is in a good economy with a tight labor market. While the economic shift caused by COVID-19 has minimized turnover due to a tight labor market and reduced sourcing issues, it has created some unique challenges.

The following evidence points to new turnover risks owners must mitigate:

 

  • Childcare responsibilities
    • 22% of grandparents provide childcare at no cost, but COVID-19 has slashed this number significantly (Vox).
    • The average cost for two young children outside school is more than $20,000 annually (Center for American Progress).
    • As childcare centers and schools reopen, teachers are refusing to go back to work further delaying the predicament. In Seattle, teachers have created a union-esque fight against returning to work (Seattle Education Association).
  • Caregivers make more off unemployment
    • The average caregiver makes $22,470 per year, or $1,800 per month before taxes (Glassdoor). 
    • Based on the state, unemployed workers receive between $300 and $500 per week. Unemployed workers in 29 states are currently getting an extra $600 per week (USA Today). That could result in upwards of $4,400 of potential monthly income plus the $1200 per person and $500 per child (IRS). We are starting to hear that caregivers are opting to file for unemployment and quitting their jobs. 
  • Caregivers are getting sick or are afraid of getting sick
    • “Eric Bloniarz of FirstLight Home Care, said some of his employees have begun staying home out of fear of the virus, putting added pressure on those, like Brownlee, who continue to work. To pick up the slack, he has started recruiting new aides from the growing ranks of workers laid off from struggling bars and restaurants over the past two weeks.” (Washington Post)
A businessman

Home-Health Staffing Roundup: Insights From Sprockets’ Home-Health Providers

Home-Health Staffing Roundup: Insights From Sprockets’ Home-Health Providers 2048 1365 Sprockets

As COVID-19 pushes through the United States, home health and assisted living providers are facing new operational challenges. For our clients, caregiver staffing is at the forefront of these demands as more patient care shifts to one-on-one assistance.

While Sprockets continues to help home health providers replicate their top-performing caregivers and navigate their immediate hiring needs, we want to share the insights and industry outlooks uncovered along the way. This article is a collection of those insights and outlooks as they relate to caregiver staffing.

 

Caregivers consider unemployment

Over the past few weeks, the federal government went to great lengths to provide relief for both individuals and business owners negatively affected by COVID-19. An unfortunate side effect of this relief effort is individuals considering unemployment as a more lucrative option than remaining employed. 

This is due to the extra $600 in relief given to individuals who file unemployment as a result of losing their job due to COVID-19. In the hourly workforce, this could mean making more while being unemployed than to remain in a current position. 

Not many of our clients have mentioned this issue, but those that have are reacting in a couple of ways:

  • Hazard Pay – Increasing caregiver hourly rates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Staffing Up – With increased unemployment nationwide, providers are seeing an influx in candidates. By ramping up interviewing, they are prepared to replace caregivers that are unable to work for any reason.

 

Digital caregiving

Providing care is a hands-on task, but in a world where minimal contact is required, providers are having to quickly adopt a digital-first mentality. Sprockets’ clients are reporting their digital transformations in a few key areas:

  • Recruitment & Onboarding – Hiring managers are shifting to online screening and interviews with caregivers. This means using tools like Sprockets to quickly match applicants against current top-performing caregivers, conducting video conference interviews with Google Hangouts or Zoom Meetings, and handling onboarding through training videos and web-enabled documents. 
  • Caregiving – Operations managers have implemented digital check-ins via surveys or video conferences to ensure a caregiver working remotely is fit to visit with a patient. In other words, they are asking a series of questions to determine if the caregiver may be at an increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and potentially not able to provide care.
  • Compensation – COVID-19 has placed additional strain on individuals’ ability to meet their financial obligations. As a way to meet the immediate needs of their caregivers, some providers are embracing software that allows employees to be paid in an on-demand fashion. Tools like DailyPay and FlexWage allow employers to provide a flexible digital alternative to their typical pay frequency.

 

Recruiting from other industries

As mentioned earlier, COVID-19 has created an unfortunate opportunity to meet the staffing demands that previously and currently face home health. With other industries dependent on hourly employees like restaurants and hospitality forced to layoff employees, home health providers are finding a new applicant pool for sourcing. 

While recruiting in other industries is a great way to counteract the previously tight labor market for caregivers, we are advising Sprockets users that screening is more important than ever. Understanding an applicant’s mental makeup before they shift into a caregiver position helps providers know they have the “right skill set” for the job.

 

As we continue to get insights from other home health providers using Sprockets, we will post another staffing roundup in the weeks to come. If you have any current strategies you would like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

A man on the computer researching employee discipline practices

The Fundamentals of Employee Discipline

The Fundamentals of Employee Discipline 1920 1080 Sprockets

Employee discipline isn’t easy for most managers. It typically involves verbal and written warnings regarding tardiness, no-shows, or disregard for the dress code or behavior that result in an employee write-up. Escalating from warnings to a write-up can be intimidating for most managers. But, it is important to follow a formal structure when moving an employee through the warning system to employee discipline to write-ups and termination. Follow these fundamentals of employee write ups to ensure you get it right.

 

#1 Take a Breath

Before taking any disciplinary action, it is important to take a step back and take a breath. It’s best not to take any actions while you are still angry at a person or situation. Write down what you experienced and who was involved. The next day, revisit what you recorded and decide if it stills needs to be acted on.

 

#2 Document the Problem

One of the most important fundamentals is documenting the problems that arise. From verbal to written warnings and write-ups, it is crucial to document and date each warning and store it in a secure space within an employee’s existing documents folder. It’s important to note when the incident occurred, who was involved, who else saw what happened (or didn’t happen), and what warning or notice was given to the offending employee.

 

#3 Cite the Employee Handbook

Another fundamental that can be easily overlooked is to actually cite the employee handbook or onboarding materials that were given to an employee when beginning their job. By citing that they have used one of three no-show warnings, the employee will need to acknowledge that their actions have consequences that they were aware of. Also cite what is outline for employee discipline, like less hours or a probationary period.

 

#4 Set Expectations

It’s not just enough to give a warning regarding no-shows, lack of proper attire, or poor customer service. It’s important to set expectations with the employee to measure progress and correct any issues that have been forming, when applicable. If a server is not routinely checking on diners or presents a poor attitude with other staff members, create a plan together to fix this and let them know how it will be monitored. For example, over the next two weeks, we expect [staff member name] to visit each customer’s table at least once every six minutes to refill water, take orders, check in on their satisfaction related to the food, and offer dessert. The shift supervisor will monitor the level of service their tables are receiving.

 

#5 Provide Proof of Warnings

After providing a verbal warning, it is important to follow it up with a written warning. These will be needed when progressing to a write up by showing that the specified number of warnings were given before a write-up was issued. From there, after the write-ups are issued, these documents are important to keep if they are used to terminate an employee, even in an at-will state.

 

#6 Follow Up

Lastly, it is important to follow up on the warnings or write-ups given to see if the employee has taken them seriously. Are they still showing up late? Providing poor service? Getting into arguments with management? If so, it’s important to follow your set guidelines regarding when to write up an employee. A bad employee is worse than no employee and can be detrimental to a restaurant’s bottom line and other staff members.

Overall, it’s important to follow a routine system when moving an employee from warning to write-ups to termination and stick to the fundamentals along the way to avoid legal trouble. It’s important to keep track of which employees aren’t adhering to their job requirements and are costing the restaurant lost customers, poor productivity, and even lower staff morale. 

Before making your next hire, learn how Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System ensures you only hire candidates who are like your best employees.